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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Responses of wild watermelon to drought stress: accumulation of an ArgE homologue and citrulline in leaves during water deficits.

Wild watermelon from the Botswana desert had an ability to survive under severe drought conditions by maintaining its water status (water content and water potential). In the analysis by two-dimensional electrophoresis of leaf proteins, seven spots were newly induced after watering stopped. One with the molecular mass of 40 kilodaltons of the spots was accumulated abundantly. The cDNA encoding for the protein was cloned based on its amino-terminal sequence and the amino acid sequence deduced from the determined nucleotide sequences of the cDNA exhibited homology to the enzymes belong to the ArgE/DapE/Acy1/Cpg2/YscS protein family (including acetylornithine deacetylase, carboxypeptidase and aminoacylase-1). This suggests that the protein is involved in the release of free amino acid by hydrolyzing a peptidic bond. As the drought stress progressed, citrulline became one of the major components in the total free amino acids. Eight days after withholding watering, although the lower leaves wilted significantly, the upper leaves still maintained their water status and the content of citrulline reached about 50% in the total free amino acids. The accumulation of citrulline during the drought stress in wild watermelon is an unique phenomenon in C3-plants. These results suggest that the drought tolerance of wild watermelon is related to (1) the maintenance of the water status and (2) a metabolic change to accumulate citrulline.[1]


  1. Responses of wild watermelon to drought stress: accumulation of an ArgE homologue and citrulline in leaves during water deficits. Kawasaki, S., Miyake, C., Kohchi, T., Fujii, S., Uchida, M., Yokota, A. Plant Cell Physiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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